A Harvest for Seasons to Come.
Mentorship comes in many forms. This bond can be personal with someone who cares about you or from afar, where you study the actions of someone you may never meet. I have had the privilege to experience both in my life.
In this issue you will find great stories of mentorship. I could not be more honored to deliver our cover story with Donald Trump Jr. to you. All politics aside, I have found value in the Trump Organization since I was a young boy. I can distinctly remember in first grade, our teacher asked us to draw images of what we wanted to be when we grew up. Some kids drew firemen, some drew doctors; I drew buildings. When asked if I wanted to be an architect, I responded “No, I want to be Donald Trump.” This had nothing to do with politics (it was well before he became involved in politics) and everything to do with success. Probably should have stuck with buildings and not magazines, but hey, God had other plans…
Trump was one of those mentors that I have never met (I hope to one day) but who made a huge impact in my development as a businessman and entrepreneur. Learning more about his son, Don Jr., has impacted me as well. His article in this issue is truly inspiring. Don has stepped well outside of his father’s shadow, an impressive feat alone, and has become quite the conservationist, business leader, and mentor to his children and others. Even while in the public eye like never before, you will still see him at hunting tradeshows, sharing campfire stories, and enjoying hunts with everyday folks like you and me.
A friend told me a story about Don before our interview took place. One day while on a hunt, Don Jr. stopped into a local shop early in the morning while the shopkeeper was stocking shelves. She dropped a box of granola bars, and they spilled all over the floor. Don, without hesitation, bent over and helped the woman collect the spilled goods. She thanked him, never realizing who he was, nor did Trump make it known. The world needs more men like this. No job is too small for great leaders nor should we disregard plain ol’, down-to-earth, kindness. It doesn’t matter if you’re a multi-millionaire like Trump or a minimum-wage, paycheck-to-paycheck employee.
Speaking of the outdoors though, another impactful article for you to read in this issue is our Giving Back section on Hunt the Vote. Did you know that a surprising number of hunters don’t vote? That’s right—they don’t. Of all the registered hunters out there, roughly 30 percent aren’t registered to vote. Of the remaining balance, just over half actually exercise that right. In my home state of Texas, during the 2016 and 2018 elections, nearly 300,000 of the 1.2 million registered hunters in the state sat it out at the ballot box. Blows my mind. Why are we doing all of this if we don’t vote our values and protect our rights as outdoorsmen? This year, please do the right thing and vote. Our lifestyle depends on it.
On a personal level, a man who did have a huge impact on my life, was my Uncle Rick. Like Don Jr.’s grandfather (who we dive into with our cover story), Uncle Rick was my outdoors mentor. He would take me to remote parts of the country, and we would essentially disappear into the woods too, learning to be self-sufficient in the wild. He taught me how to cast and catch trout in remote parts of Maine, so far into the wilderness that a logging road was considered a highway. We would cook those fish on a stick over the fire like we were roasting marshmallows—best darn fish I ever ate and some of my favorite childhood memories.
Uncle Rick knew the importance of the outdoors and the importance of mentorship. Also, he knew that I lost my father at a young age, and he stepped up to be that role model I needed in the woods. He taught me about conservation, gave me confidence in the wild, and most importantly instilled a passion for nature and adventure that still lives on. Though Uncle Rick has passed on, his mentorship has led me to have a passion to help others new to the great outdoors. Quickly thinking, I can say with confidence, that I have guided/given up more whitetail bucks to young hunters and/or adults who have never hunted before, than I have shot myself. Each time, I often wonder if I will ever get to harvest a buck I have fed, patterned, and watched on game cameras for months, but the thrill of that congratulatory high-five and the smile on their face is worth more than any trophy on my wall.
I want to wish you all a first and foremost, safe season. If you are in a tree stand, please wear a safety harness—gravity doesn’t discriminate. May you all be blessed with success, great memories from deer camp, campfire belly laughs, and abundantly filled freezers after it is all said and done. Lastly, be a mentor. Take a kid or even an adult hunting. You never know who would love to be there with you but may not be speaking up. It can change their life—Uncle Rick surely changed mine.
John J. Radzwilla